Monthly Archives: December 2010

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Photo by Louie Saletan
Ex-New Yorker Erin Reck and Brit Wallis rehearse for an upcoming show in January 2011 at Hope Stone.

In June of 2009, I ran into Nic Phillips at theDance/USA conference. “Are you busy these days?” he asked. “I have this new thing, it’s called CultureMap.”

It’s 124 stories later.

When I met with editor-in-chief Clifford Pugh, he was a bit hesitant on the name “The Arthropolgist.”  It’s pretentious, slightly delusional and more than a tad dorky — so a perfect fit for me.

As Culturemap has just celebrated its one year anniversary and revealed its sleek streamlined look, now seems like an ideal time to reflect on some of my favorite stories.

My musings on exposing kids to art touched a nerve, as many of us worry about the next generation of art goers. I have nothing but good news to report.

Musiqa’s middle school program, ReMix, presented in collaboration with the Alley Theatre and the Hobby Center, is sold out. Karen Stokes ofTravesty Dance Group won Dance Teacher Instructional Video of the Month at Dance Media for her Framing Dance Program. Angela Foster and InterActive Theater Company are part of the MODE Incubatorprogram at Houston Arts Alliance, where they are growing their organization. And get this, my son Joseph, the kiddo who could speak so fluently about Jackson Pollock, is trying to steal my thunder at Houston Press’ Art Attack.

I will never forget the hour I spent in a room with WindSync. I am happy to report that the young upstart wind quintet is going strong with tours lined up, some new members and a their own version of West Side Story calledWindSync Story on Dec. 5, at Duncan Recital Hall at Shepherd School of Music. Think movie night with wind instruments.

Then there were the travel stories. I caught up with Marfa Man John DeMers on his way out to cut the lawn at his new Marfa house.

“Mow it into an artsy design to outdo Donald Judd,” I told the author, who has just finished his next Marfa Shadows book. I’m planning my second jaunt to Austin for the Fuse Box Festival this spring. Director Ron Berry promises another weird-as-ever lineup, including Morgan Thorson, who rocked the DiverseWorks house with Heaven.

My leaving the Big Apple story had some repercussions. Erin Reckheaded back to New York to dance with Molly Rabinowitz and Sara Rudner shortly after the piece ran. She’s back in Houston now (thankfully!) working on new choreography in a HopeWerks residency atHope Stone. Philip Lehl and his entire ex-New Yorkers troupe at Brave Dog Theater open Craig Lukas’ Reckless on Dec. 2.

Those branching out artists are still at it. Brian Byrnes, who tried his hand directing opera last season, directs Pearl Fishers and Don Carlo at  Opera in the Heights, while the husband and wife team of Hillerbrand + Magsamen are busy re-designing the lawn at Lawndale for an April show. Now that’s a big move.

The fallout from the surviving on reception food story has resulted in many a tasty offering by arts people fearing I might be hungry. Allison Hunter had freshly baked cookies ready when I showed up for a studio visit. Way to go girl. A big shout out to Rice Media Center and Cinema Arts Society for the post Max Ernst Hanging reception featuring simply dreamy chocolate covered macaroons. Oh, the movie was good too.

I loved my Art in a Bar story, not only because I like art and bars, but because I find bars transformed by art. Brewery Tap is a holy place since the Horse Head Theatre Co. production of Fault Lines. “Look at the Ancient Greeks,” says Kevin Holden, Horse Head’s Artistic Director. “They tied theatre in with their festival for the god of wine. I think a bit of alcohol loosens up our ability for catharsis.” Amen brother Kevin.

Now about your favorite columns.

The Young Professionals arts groups story examined how we spend our precious resources on audience development. I checked in with the folks at Houston Ballet Barre at a rehearsal for Stanton Welch’s Velocity in preparation for the upcoming annual Jubilee. Not all about bubbly liquids, these ballet connoisseurs sat through a serious rehearsal, complete with a substantial Q & A before the hobnobbing began. Their hold the party until we get a big hit of ballet strategy has worked. Enrollment has increased by 50 percent.

Society for Performing Arts canned their YP group after realizing that their audiences are diverse in age. HYPA leader Heather Pray reports that her mother has still not forgiven me for saying she was not raised in an artsy house. Young artsers should not miss the HYPA gala on Feb. 5, “Andalusional: A Spanish Dream World” in conjunction with the Houston Symphony’s Ravel’s Spain with Bolero. Jessica Walters and her gang atDominic Walsh Dance Theater’s Friday Night Casting Couch are still holding snazzy and open-to-all-ages, quasi YP events.

I’m still waiting for the couch, because, you know,  I’m old.

My social media saga continues as I still shamelessly beg you every week to “like,” “share” and “tweet” my stories. My tutors are going strong. Culturemap’s social media guru Fayza Elmostehi wants me to join Foursquare so I can be the mayor. I have no idea what’s she’s talking about but mayor sounds good.

I  finally caved and got a Facebook Fan Page. Yeah, like me baby!

Sydney Skybetter’s double life of net wonk at Design Brooklyn and rising New York Choreographer plows ahead on both fronts. His new operation, SkyNova15, live streamed from backstage at the BessieAwards.

“I’ve gotten more fully involved in creating media to be put out on social networks. The SkyNova project is very much in development, but is essentially a near no-cost means to push forward the discourse on technology and infrastructure in the arts,” Skybetter says. “If I can generate this content, and syndicate it for free through online/social networks, why can’t we all?”

His company landed a Joyce show in a shared program, and he’s featured in my upcoming story on how dancers and choreographers use Twitter in Dance MagazineMonica Danna and Katie Laird continue their social media-lite status.

“I’m trying to help Houston arts groups convert tweets to butts in seats,” Danna says.  And well, little me, won Best Houston Arts Tweeter by The Houston Press. Know that I thanked all my teachers in my acceptance speech.

Artists and their Day Jobs got people riled up about the myriad of ways artists sustain themselves.Caroline Collective co-Founder Ned Dodington just published Factory Farmed Architecture: You Are How You Eat in Bracket. These days, he fuses his interests in architecture and art with  “Urban Aeries: increased opportunities and awareness for avian citizens,” a collaboration with Melissa McDonnell funded by the Rice Design Alliance. Dodington hopes to take the project another step with “Urban Aeries: PURCH (Positioned Urban Roosts for Civic Habitation).”

Elliot Cooper Cole left Houston to get a Ph. D. at Princeton, but recently returned to premiere his newest opus, Selkie, A Sea Tale with Misha Penton and Divergence Vocal Theater. I sat next to River Oaks Chamber Orchestra violist and personnel manager Suzanne LeFevre at Alecia Lawyer’s Oboe concert/tasting at Kirans. LeFevre reminded me that truthfully she has a triple life. She also plays with Houston Grand Opera and Mercury Baroque, for which she (and the rest of the orchestra) will be bringing Vivaldi’s lost opera Montazuma back to life this very Saturday at Wortham.

I continue to marvel at the lives artists manage.

I thank everyone who gave me something to write about. Without you, I’d be home watching old Glee episodes.

Have I missed you? Got a story idea? The Arthropologist is in.

Reprinted from Culturemap.



Chinese ballet transplant loves Houston drivers, modern moves & being a prince

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Photo by Amitava Sarkar
From the “Diamonds” section of the Houston Ballet’s “Jewels,” artists Jun Shuang Huang and Mireille Hassenboehler.

I had a wonderful visit with Jun Shuang Huang,Houston Ballet’s newest principal. It didn’t seem to matter that I don’t speak or understand a word of Chinese. With new apprentice Liao Xiangtranslating, there was such a spirit of communication in the room.

Imagine cultural diplomacy happening right here in Houston Ballet’s conference room. The arts are such a conduit for international exchange.

This weekend, Huang performs his first Nutcracker at Wortham Theater Center. So when you see him as the Nutcracker Prince, he will be dancing in a ballet he has never seen live before.

“We don’t do Nutcracker in China, nor do we celebrate Christmas. We do have Chinese New Year though,” adds Huang, eager to tell his story. “Also, we don’t usually perform ballets for small children.”

Watching Huang and Liao talk back and forth added such suspense to the interview. I have no idea of the actual content of the ideas flying back and forth, but know there was lots of laughing, smiling and attention to getting it right.

Also in the room with us was Huang’s Sugar Plum Fairy, Katharine Precourt, who first performed Nutcracker at age four.

“I can hardly remember not doing Nutcracker. This is my fourth year in Sugar Plum, which is a such great role. I am always finding new things in the part,” says Precourt, the subject of my  “On The Rise” story in Dance Magazine a while back.  “He’s a great partner. Because of my height, we fit so well together. Really, there’s been no shock going into this. Language is not really an issue either. We can tell if something is not quite right.”

To prepare, Huang read the E.T.A. Hoffman book The Nutcracker is based on and put in serious YouTube time.

“I love it. It’s such a Western story and an important part of ballet in America. The Prince is a great role, he takes Clara on the entire journey,” he says. “In China, our training is so classically oriented. We are trained to be princes.”

With his elegant elongated lines, chiseled high cheek bones and polished technique, Huang is about as princely as it gets.

The Shanghai native arrived with some impressive ballet stats, including the Bounty Award for Ballet Couple at the Varna Ballet International Competition in 2008 and the Gold Prize, Senior Division at the Helsinki Ballet International Competition in 2009. He trained as an honor student at the Shanghai Dance School before joining the Guangzhou Ballet.

I couldn’t resist the Mao’s Last Dancer question.

“Yes, I read the book and saw the movie,” Huang says, “It was so meaningful to me because, although it’s not my story, my parents and grandparents lived through this time. I was inspired by the book. Also, Li and I had the same teacher for a while.”

Huang remembers his first days in Houston as a bit disorienting.

“I felt like a newborn baby, I knew nothing and no one,” he says. “I had no family here other than my wife. Transportation was a problem too. I have a car now, so  I can finally get around and that’s been great. Houston drivers are so much better than Chinese drivers.

“I think this is an excellent city for artists.”

Although Huang danced numerous roles during his time at the Guangzhou Ballet, he was ready to spread his wings.

“There’s mostly classical in China. I wanted to dance contemporary work,” he says.

After sending his DVD to many ballet companies, Huang received several job offers, finally settling on Houston. “Houston Ballet is famous in China, because of Ben Stevenson, Li Cunxin and Zhang Jian,” he says. “The company has a great reputation.”

Huang jumped in full force with contemporary ballets, tackling Jiri Kylian’sForgotten Land, Stanton Welch’s Tutu and “Diamonds” in Balanchine’sJewels.

“I had done a tiny bit of Balanchine before. But I loved Stanton’s Tutu, because I had to move so quickly. It was not easy at all. In China, they never give tall dancers fast roles, just tall people stuff,” he says, laughing. “I found Forgotten Land the most challenging for me because I had never performed that kind of movement before.”

Huang’s streamlined virtuosity and chemistry with Mireille “Mimi” Hassenboehler during Forgotten Land made for one memorable intro to the new guy. The dancer appears to thrive on new ballets.

During Houston Ballet’s annual Jubilee of Dance on Dec. 3, Huang will perform a mix of classical and contemporary work, including the pas de deux  from Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda and Welch’s whirlwind ballet,Velocity.

Huang finds the vibe at Houston Ballet distinctly different. “In China, the emphasis is on always pushing your technique. Here, it’s more relaxed, more about the desire to dance.”

Although it’s been less than a year since Huang left Shanghai, he seems to be settling in with a robust enthusiasm for all things new.

“The whole company is so helpful. If there is something I don’t understand everyone pitches in to help,” he says. “I want to especially mention Mimi. I was so lucky to have her as my first partner. She is so wonderful. Everyone has been so patient and welcoming at Houston Ballet. I am so thankful to be here.”

Reprinted from Culturemap.


Houston’s hip hop happening: defying gravity through dance


HIStory Dance Crew

Photo by Todd Spoth

Houston is a hip-hop hub. So say the mover-shaker team at Dance Houston, the city’s leading presenter of local crews. “H-Town Get Down” actually gets down at 7:30 Friday night at Warehouse Live for a one-of-a-kind dance party /performance event featuring the best of local troupes, including Wyld Styl8th EditionPlanet FunkHIStory, Fly, Inertia, Home Grown and the award-winning Alpha Phi Alpha step group from University of Houston.

Mr. Wiggles, of the historic Rock Steady Crew, will be performing and judging bboy battles. Local DJs, graffiti and airbrush artists will be in the house as well.

Mr. Wiggles and Mike Song from Kaba Modern, one of the top three crews on MTV’s first season of America’s Best Dance Crew, will be teaching master classes on Saturday at SoReal Dance Studio. “We asked the troupes who they most admire, and the answer turned out to be Mr. Wiggles,” says Andrea Cody, Dance Houston’s founder and executive director.

“H-Town Get Down” is Cody’s  brainchild; she has presented numerous hip hop events, along with her ever-popular city-wide dance festivals. After finding out that Wortham and Hobby were not quite the right venues, Cody got the idea of moving the show into Warehouse Live.

“We are bringing it back to the ground level. It’s more of an event experience. It’s interactive and more like a party. People can mingle, tune in and out, depending on what interests them,” Cody says. “I imagine dancing, and some impromptu battles. Audiences will have a chance to show off what they have.”

Cody has single handedly raised the awareness of the bounty of hip hop talent in this city, forging a relationship between the concert and street dance community.

“It all started when I invited various hip hop groups to be part of our city-wide festivals. There were so many good ones we realized that the whole lineup could be hip hop,” Cody says.  “Then I thought, why not do a totally hip hop event?”

She knows the hip hop world inside and out. Each group represents a different  flavor in the hip hop ecology of Houston.

“There’s 8th Edition, who fuse salsa and hip hop,” Cody says. “There are trained Latin dancers who infuse their work with the latest trends. They are so unique to Houston.”

HIStory (of America’s Best Dance Crew) will be showing their latest creations, along with up and comers like Inertia, made up of top students from  Westside High School, are also in the mix.

“They just got back from China,” Cody says. “They have an amazing program at Westside. It’s very competitive.”

After spotting the University of Houston Alpha Phi Alpha step team on MTV, Cody invited them to come aboard.

“They won the central region Sprite Step Off,” she said. “We tracked them down. They are awesome, and add a whole other element to the mix.”

Planet Funk has been part of the Dance Houston family since the get-go.

“They are like a rock in the community, a beacon for people to join the scene,” Cody says. “It’s important to foster cross pollination.”

Planet Funk founder Shawn Welling sees Dance Houston the same way.

“It’s great how Andrea gets all these crews together,” says Welling, who will be showing his Electric Light Circus 14 Fire & Ice. “It’s friendly and competitive. It’s also wonderful to show our work in both a traditional theater and a place like Warehouse Live.”

Dance Houston, now in its eighth year, is known as one of the city’s most diverse dance presenters, especially focusing on groups that may be under the radar of most dance audiences. They have just launched their Spotlight series, which has taken such troupes as Revolve Dance Company and Urban Souls on tour to Katy, Clear Lake, Stafford and The Woodlands. During the summer, they turn into a dance camp machine with “Young and Intense,” their summer intensive for ages 7-17.

A national title holder in Lindy Hop, Cody finds swing dance and hip hop share much of the same lineage rooted in an African American aesthetic.

“Hip hop is fun, entertaining, young and fresh,” she says. “It’s always surprising me in the way dancers pushes beyond the limits of what we know the body can do. It’s about defying gravity.”

Reprinted from Culturemap.


Keep your movie stars: A sexy tutu beats red carpet glamour at Cinema Arts Festival

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Still from Brent Green’s Gravity was Everywhere back Then.

In this very space, when I was pretending to be a fashion writer, I mentioned that only ballerinas should wear tutus. After seeing David Hillman Curtis’ Ride, Rise,  Roar, (and David Byrne’s live show) I’d like to amend that statement., only ballerinas and Byrne, who looks simply smashing in a fluffy white cloud of tulle while belting out “Burning Down the House.”

Sure, I’ve already fussed over the live events at the Cinema Arts Festival, but I don’t even need to pretend to be a film writer to have something to say about Ride, Rise, Roar, screening on Saturday at 9:45 p.m. and Sunday at 6:45 p.m. at Edwards Greenway Palace Stadium, as much of it is about the integration of dance into Byrne’s live show.

While the rest of you are Isabella Rossellini, John Turturro and Shirley MacLaine gawking, I am still swooning over Sam Green (Utopia in Four MovementsBrent Green (Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then) andAnnie-B Parson, one of the chief choreographers for the Byrne tour, co-director with Paul Lazar of Big Dance Theater and mastermind behind Byrne’s famous tutu.

(OK , maybe I swooned a little over Turturro. Let it be known his film, Passione, begins and ends in motion. And, the guy can dance. “I’m a great dancer,” he joked with the crowd last night.)

“David looked awesome in that tutu; he’s into white,” says Parson, who just won a Bessie Award for Comme Toujours Here I Stand, which I had the great pleasure of seeing at last year’s Fuse Box Festival. (Houston audiences remember Big Dance Theater’s spellbinding The Other Here atCynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.) Parson, a fan of Byrne’s work, jumped at the chance to choreograph the show, along with Noemie Lafrance and the robbinschilds partnership of Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs (recently seen in Dance With Camera at the CAMH).

“David had seen our work,” remembers Parson. “We were steeped in Byrne aesthetic of the 1980s.”

Parson’s eclectic vocabulary, combined with her ability to animate objects, made for a dazzling combination. Having seen Byrne’s show at Jones Hall, I know just how well Parson’s clever moves fuse with Byrne’s punchy tunes. Microphones, office chairs and electric guitars dance along with performers Lily Baldwin, Natalie Kuhn and Steven Reker.

“The office chairs were his idea,” Parsons says. “But we both got the idea about the electric guitars at the same time in crossing e-mails.”

I also sat down with Brent Green, creator of Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then and Donna K, an actor and collaborator, for a lively conversation covering everything from shape notes to brain science atDiverseWorks last week over a glass of wine (me) and coffee (them). Brent’s career has had a meteoric rise, including raves in Art in Americaand The New York Times. He’s mostly pleased that he gets to continue to make stuff from his rural Pennsylvania outpost.

And he made just about everything you see in Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, showing in a continuous loop at DiverseWorks alongside his installation that virtually leads you into the delicate world of the film. Scrawled on the DiverseWorks’ south wall is the statement, “And we stood with our shovels in our hands looking upward/forward/toward any kind of temporal cure for this wholly temporary world,” the last part of which is also written on a wonky and wavy looking banner floating below the ceiling.

The sentiment of celebrating extraordinary people, like Leonard Wood (the man who built the healing house for his wife documented in the film), forms the heart of Brent’s current concerns.

“These are the people who make our society great,” the self-taught artist says.

Like everything Brent does, it’s both grand and gentle. I know those two adjectives don’t normally go together. When you see his work you will know exactly what I mean; the level of dedication, detail, authenticity, thoroughness is nothing short of startling.

“Well, I did build a whole town in my backyard,” he says with characteristic humility. “I’m drawn to problem solving, difficult and  impossible things.”

Brent and Donna K. generously share the intricacies of doing stop-motion animation with live actors.

“Even the blinks were choreographed,” Donna K says. The quivering nature of the actors’ movements is unsettling; it appears to flicker rather than flow, amplifying the fragile and precarious nature of Leonard’s predicament.

“Your work makes us lean in, then  pushes us away.” I tell Brent. He nods in agreement.

The live version with a soundtrack by Brent, Donna K., Brendan Canty and John Michael Swartz is, of course, different every time. “Sometimes it’s like a rock show,” he says.

Brent’s film is paired with Sam Green’s Utopia in Four Movements as part of Live Cinema at FrenetiCore on Friday and Saturday, co-presented byAurora Picture Show. It’s not so nutty for Sam to perform with his film, he’s a teacher, comfortable with talking in front of a crowd. In this case, the subject dictated the form.

“The idea of watching a movie about Utopia alone in your room is tragic,” says Sam, who is drawn to the more unpredictable nature of live performance. “Film is done, you can’t change it anymore. In live performance we can keep changing things and I do. We tried a new end recently, even new songs. Once someone even asked a question in the middle of it. It’s totally different in the way you engage with it. ”

The Quavers and Dave Cerf  join Sam in the live show.

Sam also has a collection of his short films, which he lovingly refers to as his “ditties,” showing in the flickerlounge at DiverseWorks, also a co-presentation of Aurora Picture Show.

“For me, short films are a great way to experiment with new ideas or filmmaking techniques. It’s also a way to explore something that’s small,” he says. “The film I made, for example, about the young man who was killed at Altamont and the fact that he’s buried in an unmarked grave (lot 63, grave c) — it’s a small little thing — a poem. Same with Pie Fight ’69; that movie is a love letter to some San Francisco filmmakers who staged a crazy pie fight at the opening night of the SF Film Festival many years ago.”

There’s so much for a performing arts writer to engage with at the Festival, after all it’s a Cinema Arts Festival. Two films shout out as a powerhouses messages for the preservation of the arts in the schools, a favorite topic of mine. Chekhov for Children chronicles Phillip Lopate’s experience producing Uncle Vanya with New York City fifth and sixth graders, and filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer’s memories of being part of the project.

The film makes a strong case for the power of introducing classic literature to children. I will be participating in Meet the Makers: The State of Criticism: Film and The Arts on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Edwards Greenway Lopate will be moderating the panel. Since Darren Aronofsky’s psychological ballet thriller Black Swan was just added to the festival maybe we do need a dance writer around.

Thunder Soul is another re-visiting story, this time telling the tale of Conrad “Prof” Johnson, the music teacher at Kashmere High School who transformed the jazz band into the stuff of legends. The trailer had me in tears and there isn’t even a snippet of Houston’s legendary Kashmere Stage Band on it.  The reunion Kashmere Reunion Band will be playing after the film showing tonight at Discovery Green.

Know that there’s much more, but I’m running off to see Isabella take me on A Journey to Italy.

Reprinted from Culturemap.

Live Music, Live Performance:Cinema Arts Festival aims to change the way you look at movies

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A still from Sam Green’s Utopia in Four Movements

Back in the day, silent films had live musicians. Choreographers have been combining dance and film for decades now.

But something all together different will happen at  “Live Cinema at FrenetiCore” on Nov.11-13, as part of the Cinema Arts Festival, presented by theHouston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) and co-sponsored by Aurora Picture Show. Here, the “live” part is instigated by the filmmakers.

Cinema Arts Festival Artistic director Richard Herskowitz is particularly excited about this collection of films, which fuse live music and performance elements. Don’t expect a live scoring of film either, music is more integrated and interactive here.

“These are collaborations, really interesting combinations of music and film,” Herskowitz says. “Music supports the film and vice versa.”

Consider Utopia in Four Movements, a live documentary by filmmakerSam Green and musician Dave Cerf, showing on Nov. 12 and 13. Green, nominated for an Academy Award for his feature The Weather Underground, examines optimism in his completely original approach to documentary. The failure of politics, the still-limping economy, a troubled earth and a culture of naysayers, has so eroded the Utopian impulse, it’s no wonder it makes such a rich canvas for Green and Cerf.

In a rare film-meets-performance-art event, Green will cue images and narrate while Cerf and the Brooklyn-based notorious electronic mixmasters, The Quavers, perform the soundtrack.

“This is a hybrid event, it’s not a film fixed to a tape,” Herskowitz insists. “No two performances are the same either.”

Utopia in Four Movements perfectly fits Aurora’s mission to present artist-made non-commercial film and video.

“I was interested in this project because Sam is a documentary filmmaker who I have great respect for,” says Mary Magsamen, curator at Aurora Picture Show. “I wondered how he would expand his ideas into a live performance. Not everyone can do this well. Seeing something live is a very different experience because the unpredictable nature of working live changes how one experiences the piece both as an artist and as a viewer.

“I seek out work that challenges the normal conventions of making and does not fit within one specific medium.”

Self-taught filmmaker and visual artist Brent Green gives new meaning to the “making” part of filmmaking. Green and Donna K. will be in town on Nov. 12 and 13 with Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, a stop-motion animation with live actors, accompanied by John Michael Schwartz and Brendan Canty (Fugazi’s drummer). In his first feature film, Green tells the story of Leonard Wood, a man who hand-built a healing house for his cancer-ridden wife.

Green reconstructed the exact house down to the last detail. The showing is co-sponsored by DiverseWorks, which opens a companion exhibit of Green’s sculpture and film props on Nov. 5.

“Brent’s work is hard to describe. As a sculptor, an animator and a media artist, he’s also a hybrid. He built every single thing in the film,” Herskowitz says. “It’s really an architectural film.”

The ultimate do-it-yourself artist has been hailed by The Village Voice as “an emerging Orson Welles of experimental cinema.”

I first encountered Green’s work as part of Flicker Fusion at DiverseWorks. Green’s eerie and enticing work draws the viewer into his ethereal narratives. DiverseWorks co-executive director Diane Barber was blown away when she first saw Green’s work too.

“I’d never seen anything like it. Not only was the film intriguing and unusual, but the intensity of Brent’s delivery made for a magical experience. I was riveted and when he finished I thought to myself, ‘This guy is a creative genius,’ ” Barber recalls. “Since then, I’ve gotten to know Brent a little bit and I still think he’s a genius, but I also think he’s a little crazy, but in a good way.

“Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then, both the film and the exhibition, are the most recent manifestation of that genius plus crazy streak that makes Brent Green one of the most interesting artists around.”

Also included in the mix is a double feature on Nov. 11 of A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory by Esther Robinson paired with Danny Williams: Factory Films, which will include an introduction by Robinson (Williams’ relative) and live music by The Quavers. Robinson’s film delves into Williams’ mysterious disappearance in 1966. The three Williams’ films reveal life at the center of the Warhol mayhem machine, including footage of Edie Sedgwick, Warhol and the earliest known record of The Velvet Underground rehearsing. Williams was Warhol’s lover and the designer of The Velvet Underground Exploding Plastic Inevitable Lightshow.

“Live Cinema at FrenetiCore” fully lives up to HCAS’ mission.

“The very foundation of the Festival examines how film overlaps with the other art forms The task force had this in mind from the very beginning,” Herskowitz says. “It’s not just a film festival, but a Cinema Arts Festival.”

The Cinema Arts Festival will be held Nov. 10-14 at Houston Visitors Center, Discovery Green, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Rice Media Center and Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24. The event is the only festival in the United States devoted solely to films by and about visual, performing and literary artists.

Reprinted from Culturemap.